[cb_profit_poster Storytelling]Clinton, S.C., Tuesday, December 24, 2013, 10:30 a.m.
Each year I put together my would-be, heartfelt, admittedly self-indulgent e-card, which this year, for the first time, is going to be a blog. I’ll send it via email to the tiny remaining portion of my friend/fan base that does not socially quibble.
I don’t always send it by Christmas, but I always make it by New Year’s because there are lots of football games to marginally monitor on TV, and I can do things like think of song lyrics.
They’re not Christmas greetings. They’re not all happy. They’re not all sad. They reflect my mood when I sit down to write them. A couple times they’ve been all songs I wrote. Sometimes they were built upon some of the songs from the year before.
They’re lyrics that move me, or amuse me, or recuse me (oh, wait, I’m not actually writing a song now, and it doesn’t make sense). For whatever reason.
I’m going to write this year’s from scratch. That doesn’t mean I won’t think of lyrics I used last year. It just means I’ll think of them originally. Or something like that.
Here goes. I’ll start with a few of my recents:
Some fool in California / Deleted my account / And some dude that owes me money / Lessened the amount / The man who fixed my washer / Took me for a spin / And when I checked my mailbox / It all began again
But it’s not me / It’s only fiction / It’s not me / It’s someone else / It’s not me / I’m just the writer / I’m as boring as a buzzard circling o’er the pits of hell
Hell to pay / Tears to cry / Days and nights to sit and wonder why / Back before we lived together / We could bear the stormy weather / Now nothing remains but hell to pay
Scuppernongs and muscadines / Bubble gum three for a dime / Orange Crush over ice / Sawmill gravy over rice / That’s the way my world used to be
Uh huh / It’s not the same as uh-uh / No, baby, it’s uh, huh / Just nod your head / Uh, huh
The last was my only lyric that could possibly be appealing to any of the freshly coiffed, fashionably unshaven (in the case of males) stars illuminating the mainstream firmament at present. But … the verses are wholly inappropriate.
Meanwhile, Tom T. Hall occurs to me, as is often the case:
While all the time she’s been waiting on him / She’s been waiting on you and me (“Ravishing Ruby”)
She never said a word to him but said a prayer for me / I told her in a way that I’d been praying for her too (“The Little Lady Preacher”)
If you tell me she’s not here / I’ll follow the trail of her tears (“That’s How I Got to Memphis”)
And you have the nerve to tell me that you think that as a mother I’m not fit / Well, this is just a little Peyton Place and you’re all Harper Valley hypocrites (“Harper Valley PTA)
So close but yet so far away / So wrong but yet so right / I flew over our house last night (“I Flew Over Our House Last Night”)
Moving on to some one-on-ones, as sports writers are prone to say just as inaccurately:
Out into the cool of the evening / Strolls the pretender / He started out so young and strong / Only to surrender (Jackson Browne, “The Pretender”)
The silence of a falling star / Lights up a purple sky / And as I wonder where you are / I’m so lonesome I could cry (Hank Williams, “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry”)
Chained upon the face of time / Feeling full of foolish rhyme / Ain’t no dark till something shines / I’m bound to leave this world behind (Townes Van Zandt, “Rex’s Blues”)
On a package show in Buffalo / With us and Kitty Wells and Charley Pride / The show was long and we’s just sittin’ there / And we’d come to play and not just for the ride / We drank a lot of whisky and I don’t know if we got on that night at all / Don’t think they even missed us / I guess Buffalo ain’t geared for me and Paul (Willie Nelson, “Me and Paul”)
He could be the richest man in seven counties / And not be good enough to take her hand / But he says he really loves the farmer’s daughter / And I know the farmer’s daughter loves the man (Merle Haggard, “The Farmer’s Daughter”)
Someday I’m finally gonna let go / ‘Cause I know there’s a better way / I know something’s over that rainbow / I’m gonna get out of here someday (Steve Earle, “Someday”)
Blow up your TV / Throw away the papers / Go out to the country / Build you a home / Plant a little garden / Eat a lotta peaches / Try and find Jesus / On your own (John Prine, “Spanish Pipedream”)
Okay, enough of the good stuff. Back to my silly little rhymes:
The world is changing / Always rearranging / From birth to the end / With my Facebook friends
Apparently in heaven things are getting out of hand / The Lord is running out of folks who’ll take it like a man / Someone had to die too soon to save eternity / God needed a better man than me / Who else but Sniper could it be?
When the sun comes up on that bright morn / In the quiet that follows every storm / When the demons have all died away / We’ll celebrate your independence day
Martinsville / A place frozen in space and time
She’s just stuck in a rut / Head in the sand / Refusing to deal with what she don’t understand / She’s just stuck in a rut without a plan / Trying to please her man
Life is hard / No matter where you go / It’s a tortured path / Tough row to hoe / When the wheels spin / Got a heavy load / Hoping I can get / To the paved road
Johnny can’t write / ‘Cause Johnny can’t read / Johnny can’t read / ‘Cause his mama’s on speed
And on that cheery note … nah, nah, nah, not at Christmas time. I’ll conclude with another excerpt from Tom T., “Trip to Hyden” (which is principally why I put Hyden in my first novel, The Audacity of Dope) …
Past some hound dogs and some dominecker chickens / Temporary looking houses with their lean and bashful kids / Every mile or so a sign proclaimed that Christ was coming soon / And I thought, well, man, He’d sure be disappointed if He did